On Campus: Janna Gibson
Janna Gibson is a senior in the College of Education’s Birth Through Five Program who will spend the last month of her college career student teaching in China.
How did you first become interested in education?
My mom has been teaching elementary school since I was a kid, and I grew up helping her in the classroom. I initially went to school for business, but one day I said, “This cubicle is not for me.” Right then I decided to go back to school to get my education degree and fell in love with teaching.
What made you decide to pursue a study abroad experience?
When I applied to Georgia State, I specifically looked at the study abroad opportunities the university offered. After I graduate, I hope to find a teaching job in Asia, and this program would give me the chance to get some experience doing just that. How did you raise the money to go on this trip? I found out in December that I didn’t receive the scholarship I needed to pay for my trip. I’d made a website before for my photography, so I made one about this study abroad trip and asked for $2 donations to help pay for it. I received a third of the funds for my trip on the first day. I was blown away by the support I got. It was really humbling to see this outpouring of love.
What do you hope to take away from your experiences abroad?
It’s exciting to learn from other cultures. I’ll be there teaching, learning about their pedagogy and seeing how their children learn. I’m also working on a children’s book drive with the class I’m currently student teaching in to take books to underprivileged children in China, so it will be rewarding to complete this service learning project. As an early childhood education major, you have had several student teaching experiences at different schools.
What did you enjoy about these experiences?
This semester, I worked in Gail Williams’ kindergarten classroom at Morningside Elementary School. She has 22 years of teaching experience under her belt, so I spent the first week just observing what she did. It’s important to really absorb all the lead teachers have to teach you.
What has been the best part of your time at Georgia State?
The Early Childhood Education Department and the Birth Through Five Program in particular have been a perfect fit for me. It’s such a tight-knit group and my professors have been supportive and encouraging every step of the way